Getting your first tattoo is a daunting experience and you want to take the time to do it right. You need to do your research to make sure you find the best tattoo parlour and the perfect artist. You’ll want to make sure you get the exact artwork you want and you’ve chosen the perfect placement.
Once you have all the prep work done, you’ll need to get ready for the tattooing session. And if you haven’t gone under the needle before, there is some stuff you’ll need to know.
Be prepared for pain
Different people will tell you different things when it comes to the subject of tattoo pain. And that makes sense. One person’s tickle is another person’s pain. But the reality is that tattooing will hurt. The amount of pain you experience will vary based on a variety of factors, but you should be prepared for at least some pain. If you have a particularly low tolerance for pain, you should discuss this with your tattoo artist ahead of time.
Eat (but don’t drink)
Depending on the size and complexity of your tattoo, you could be in the chair for a long time. So make sure you eat something beforehand. Low blood sugar will increase the risk of passing out and will make you more irritable, neither of which are good when getting tattooed.
While it’s important to keep your blood sugar up, you should try to keep your blood alcohol down. Avoid drinking the night before or the day of the tattoo. Alcohol thins the blood, which can increase bleeding during the session. You also definitely don’t want to be hungover while getting a tattoo.
Be prepared to sit still
You’re going to have to sit still for the duration of the tattooing process. A small movement, even a twitch, can mess up the design. If you’re the kind of person who struggles to sit still, you will need to get yourself as comfortable as possible before the session starts. While you can take breaks, it’s good to minimise interruptions and let the artist work.
You might be shaved
Regardless of what body part you are getting your tattoo, there will likely be some (even if only a tiny amount) of hair that needs to be removed. Hair can get in the way of the tattooing process and affect the quality of the final result. So be prepared for your tattoo artist to shave you before the tattooing begins.
Listen to suggestions
While you may have your heart set on the exact design and placement you want for your first tattoo, it’s worth listening to your tattoo artist. Your artist is an experienced professional and may have suggestions about the placement, the design, the colour scheme and other factors.
Listen to and consider these suggestions. They may be practical suggestions about placement or line or colour choices, or aesthetic suggestions for how to improve the design. Of course, you don’t have to take these suggestions on board, but chances are they are worth considering.
Take aftercare seriously
Once the session is over, it’s up to you to take proper care of your new ink. Correct aftercare is vital to make sure your skin heals properly and to prevent infection. Your tattooist should provide you with the necessary aftercare instructions, as well as the antibacterial ointment you need to ensure the tattoo heals properly.
It’s also important that you don’t pick at or scratch the new tattoo while it’s healing. Picking at scabs can mess up the ink before it’s properly had a chance to set. You should also avoid swimming pools as the chlorine can damage the ink and submersion in water can soften up the scabs and damage the tattoo.
Making sure you know what to expect will make your first tattooing experience as enjoyable as possible.